Something about those twirling Easter dresses and delightful chocolate bunnies lulls my husband and I into a trance. So, every Good Friday, we have made it a tradition to watch The Passion of the Christ. Although this film does not make us ‘feel good’, it keeps our hearts focused on the reason we celebrate Easter. Every gut-wrenching scene solidifies the visceral reality of Jesus’ sacrifice and for us, this sober truth is everything.
This Easter Sunday, while I was basking in God’s Presence during worship, my mind’s eye flashed to the violent scenes of Jesus being beaten at the cross. When worship paused, the weight of Jesus’ sacrifice rested heavy upon my heart.
A familiar voice inaudibly whispered, “It’s not Easter Sunday. It’s Resurrection Sunday.”
Without missing a beat, our Pastor, Zack Curry, picked right up where God left me. He reminded us Jesus was SO filled with the power of God, He rose from the grave three days after He was pronounced dead. What radical proof Jesus truly held the power to cleanse and reconcile sinners to God…yet this was only the beginning!
Did you know God’s incredible resurrection power resides inside each Believer? This empowers little old us a life of victory, enabling defeat over every oppression. What that means for me is I don’t have to succumb to the limitations of my past or the depression I’ve so closely identified with. I’m given the option to grasp a radiant and hopeful future with God.
After giving Jesus my heart, life has gotten better but I can’t ignore the fact many of my dreams haven’t blossomed into fruition. I’ve often wondered if I should release these to God or keep pressing in for breakthrough (when my heart is deeply invested, discernment can be a bit tricky). As I wrestled these thoughts, Zack compelled each of us to ask God what struggle we needed to lay down at His cross.
I felt a nudge on my spirit and a whisper on my heart, “Give me every worry you have no power to change.”
As I soaked in God’s undeserving grace, deep gratitude overshadowed my disappointment.
Why do I always return to struggling? I so easily forget that my impossibility can be covered with my Heavenly Father’s unlimited possibilities. The wonderful truth is none of us has to wait for Resurrection Sunday to tap into the power of the blood Jesus. We just need to drop what we hold in order to grasp something better.
In honor of Jesus’ great sacrifice, I’ve committed to a thirty-day ‘Radical Gratitude’ journal. For the last month, I’ve started my mornings reading one Chapter of Proverbs and journaling my thankfulness about something good happening my life.
About a week into incorporating this new practice, I noticed a shift. Depression lost its grip, and I was able to recognize even more of God’s grace, which morphed into an increase of peace and spontaneous smiles. Let’s allow thankfulness to light the path of our days; not only is this crucial for Believers but for the world God wants to impact.
- Thank the Lord by keeping a laser focus on the good, not the bad.
- For example, if you struggle with health issues, thank God for preserving your body thus far. Praise Him you haven’t lost your hair, your mind or your family, etc…
- Go into deep detail about WHY you’re so grateful.
*If you are having trouble finding where to start, begin small.
- Thank God for providing food, water and shelter. Detail the good in these things. For example: I love my cozy blanket because it keeps me warm and gives me comfort.
- If you are praying for health and haven’t experienced it yet, thank God for sending people your way who have been healed. Not only does this give you hope to keep praying for your breakthrough but you can join in the celebration of another. This journal does NOT have to be all about you.
Thank you for the great sacrifice Jesus made at the cross. I want to live worthy of this.
Lord, when my heart focuses on what is going wrong, I’m unable to see what is right.
Forgive me for taking my eyes off you.
When I’m unable to see your possibilities, bless my heart to trust.
Give me wisdom and discernment on what responsibilities are mine to carry and what I must leave at the feet of your cross.
Fill my heart with humility, gratefulness and great expectation for the plans you have for me. I dedicate these next thirty days to focusing on your goodness and mercy. Highlight the ways you’ve been showing up where I’ve been missing it.
In Jesus’ name, let everything I do, lead me back to you. Amen.”